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El Aaiún

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Revision as of 19:19, 23 December 2008 by Matt.Cannella (talk | contribs) (Get out)
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El Aaiún

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El Aaiun is city in northern Western Sahara. It is the capital and has a population approaching 200,000.


Get in

Bus services connect El Aaiún to major transport hubs in southern Morocco, particularly Inezgane. Road N1 from southern Morocco to El Aaiún is in good condition, checkposts are frequent. Royal Air Maroc flies into El Aaiún from Casablanca, Agadir and Dakhla.

Get around

El Aaiún's central sights can easily be explored on foot. Public transport is virtually non-existent. Grand Taxi services connect to El Aaiún port, El Aaiún plage and places further afield.


The main roads are lined by shops selling non-descript Moroccan goods, the bird park seems to be closed forever and the adjoining tourism office is very well staffed but doesn't seem to have any ideas on how to spend your time either.


Desert and deserted beaches are aplenty. Make the most of them.


Moroccan standard fare at most places, nothing to write home about. Wonderfully beefy camel meat available at butchers around town, dates of excellent quality in the markets. Barbecue, fruit and bread is king.



Hotel Parador on Rue Okba Ibn Nafia seems to have reopened after being used as an army base for years. Should easily be the best bet in town. Hotel Larkaoune is mainly occupied by UN troops, the atmosphere is gloomy, the service personnel try to avoid being helpful as far as possible.

Get out

It is easy to see all the sights and sounds of El Aaiún one day. However, with the Sahara all around and the ocean nearby, it is easy to link a trip here with some other cities:

  • Tarfaya - Only a couple hours north via bus lies the small port village of Tarfaya, Morocco.
  • Smara - Travelling deeper into the Sahara one finds this growing village. It features remains of a fortress, and the only regional town not founded by the Spanish.

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